Crowley's Ridge, Arkansas
By Karren Crowley Cresap, Crowley Clan Newsletter, July 2013
Crowley's Ridge is an extremely unique land formation that extends from southern Missouri across eastern Arkansas. It is approximately 150 miles long and rises 250-500 feet above the flat Mississippi Alluvial Plain, hence the moniker an "Upland in the Lowlands". The Ridge is named for Benjamin Crowley, whose family was the first to settle the area. Benjamin, son of Benjamin Sr. and Sarah (Strong), was born in Virginia in 1758. He married Catherine Wiley in 1795 and they had eight children.
Benjamin, like many other Crowleys throughout history, was very patriotic and as payment for his services during the War of 1812 he received a land grant of 160 acres west of the Mississippi River. So, in 1821 he and his family headed into Arkansas territory to claim his land only to discover the land promised him had "sunk" as a result of the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812. They continued on into hill country locating rich spring-fed lands extending to the Cache River bottoms; this is where Benjamin and his family made their home.
Over the next ten years, the settlement around the Crowley Plantation grew exponentially, especially as Benjamin's sons also settled along the ridge to be near their father. Benjamin was considered the leader of the community and as such, in 1832 he helped establish the settlement's first post office, which of course was named Crowley. Also, just a year later (1833) Benjamin and a few fellow residents started the process of establishing their own county, thus Greene County was born. The original county seat was actually in Benjamin's home.
In 1842, Benjamin died and was buried in Shiloh Cemetery close to his home. Today, there is a large monument in the cemetery to commemorate the death of one of Arkansas's greatest pioneers and to proclaim Benjamin as the namesake for Crowley's Ridge.
Benjamin's homestead is now home to the Crowley's Ridge State Park, which was established in 1933. So, if you're interested in camping, fishing, hiking, all kinds of flora and fauna or just relaxing and enjoying beautiful scenery, you should definitely plan a visit to Crowley's Ridge State Park. Oh, and while you're in Arkansas don't forget to visit with some of our Crowley "cousins", as many of Benjamin's descendants still call the Ridge area home.
The park is approximately 150 miles northeast of Little Rock, 90 miles northwest of Memphis, TN, and 250 miles south of St. Louis, MO.
But no matter which direction you take to get there, you'll be glad that you did! www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=12